A small, fortified French town that dates back to medieval times, Semur en Auxois is truly a spectacle for visitors to the Burgundy Region of France. Seemingly frozen in time, this enchanting village offers history, beauty and amazing traditional dishes of the region.
Semur en Auxois is located in the Burgundy region of France along the River Armoncon as it bends along the valley bottom. In older times, the river was the source of all industry for the village, as it powered the mills that and tanneries in the area, though today the river runs at just a trickle compared to its former force before the building of the Lac de Pont dam.
Semur en Auxois was built on the highest hill along the Armoncon River, carved out of pink granite — which gives many of the oldest buildings in town their distinctive pinkish hue — with the walls and towers of the fortified city perched over the river. Though the village has its defenses and fortified walls, the city has always been keenly open to visitors and travelers. In fact, the words above the main entrance to old town read “Les Semurois se plaisant fort en l’acointance des estrangers,” meaning: “The people of Semur take great pleasure in meeting strangers.” With this inscription dating back to 1552, it could be argued that Semur en Auxois is one of Europe’s oldest tourist destinations.
One of the best and most in-tact examples of medieval villages, the old town of Semur is still the city’s social and economic center, with shops, inns and attractions of old blending seamlessly with modern additions such as banks, hospitals and grocery stores. Other attractions include several museums and of course the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame — a centuries old church featuring many works of art and detailed stained glass windows.
Events in Semur en Auxois
Throughout the year, there are a number of events that bring an influx of travelers to Semur, including the Medieval Festival in August — which is about the most realistic Renaissance fair you will ever see — and numerous theater shows and plays every several months that feature traveling acts and theater troupes performing Europe’s classic plays.
Annual Music Festival
In the summer, Semur en Auxois plays host to the area’s Annual Music Festival, which features both classic and modern musicians from around France and Europe.
Tour de France
On several occasions, Semur en Auxois has been a part of the route of the Tour de France, with its ancient cobblestone streets acting as part of the event’s course; a challenging addition to the Tour, it may be added again to future Tour de France events.
Course de la Bague
Course de la Bague, the oldest horse race in France — dating back to 1639 — is also hosted in Semur, usually around the same time as the Medieval Festival; the event is a large gathering of locals and guests, and has been named one of the top attractions to see when visiting Semur en Auxois.
Dining in Semur en Auxois
Le Restaurant Paranthese
While there are quite a few dining options in Semur en Auxois, one of them is our favorite, for its perfect blending of traditional regional Burgundy cuisine with a modern elegance and comfort. Le Restaurant Paranthese offers traditional Burgundy cuisine and dishes excellently paired with a variety of local and imported wines. Grilled entrees and sides are staples on the menu, with du jour menus changing regularly.
Foie gras confit IGP* de race Mulard, chutney d’abricots 17 €
Visit Le Restaurant Parenthese in Semur en Auxois for Yourself:
Le Restaurant Paranthese
12 Place Notre Dame, 21140
+33 3 80 92 06 11